tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC November 25, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
>> thank you, rachel. we are watching live protests from around the nation happening right now. there has been much comment on the strange process that prosecutors designed for the grand jury that chose not incite officer darren wilson. i have found no better example of just how strange it was than the treatment of the district attorney's favorite eyewitness, who appeared before that grand jury. an eyewitness whose testimony never could have withstood cross-examination in a real trial. you will hear that testimony tonight and you will hear things about that witness that the grand jury was never told. and you can make your own judgment about that witness's credibility. >> i don't know what to feel. i'm just is hurt. >> a grand jury made a decision yesterday that upset a lot of people. >> there's a sense of frustration with the process. >> it's urban combat.
there are still shell casings here under foot. >> acts of violence, threatening to drown out those who have legitimate voices. >> more than 80 people arrested . 15 buildings set on fire. >> that's destructive and there's no excuse for it. >> the decision may be in, but on the question of justice, the question is still out. >> the physical evidence isn't consistent with the beatdown you say you got. >> describing brown as having the most intense, aggressive face like a demon. >> he can't defend himself. he's buried. >> what are the prosecutor's prerogative there. >> it's very, very rare for grand juries to not return an indictment. >> a prosecution team that was really a defense team. >> we're going to hold out hope that at some point justice will be served. >> gearing up for what could be another ruckus night here.
>> the national guard presence will be ramped up significantly. >> what we still do not know at this point is what tonight is going to look like. >> for a second night, protests are not just in ferguson, they are coast to coast, including here in boston where i am tonight. massachusetts state police are monitoring 1,400 protesters. police are trying to keep them from walking on to route 93 near the massachusetts avenue extension. there are also large crowds at this hour from new york to california. hundreds of protesters are on the streets in new york city's union square. downtown los angeles, and in oakland, california. there's a large police presence in each city, and in ferguson, missouri, a spokesman for the hands up coalition, a community group, tells nbc news tonight they are not organizing any protests tonight. but they will have legal observers out on the streets to
monitor police activity around people who are protesting. governor jay nixon announced today the national guard presence will be ramped up significantly. the governor says more than 2,000 national guardsman are in the st. louis region and more than 300 police officers on the streets. here is officer darren wilson's explanation today to george stephanopolous of why he shot and killed michael brown. >> you say he started to run. >> i gave myself another mental check. legally can i shoot this guy? and the answer was i have to. if i don't, he will kill me if he gets to me. >> even though he's 35, 40 feet away? >> once he's coming that direction, if he hasn't stopped yelt, when is he going to stop? >> if american police officers shot every unarmed person who runs at them, we would have
thousands and thousands and thousands more dead americans killed by police every year. darren wilson knew that michael brown was unarmed. he knew michael brown was wounded. he knew or should have known that michael brown was no longer physically capable of being a threat to his life. and that is the legal obligation he knew he haed to meet in order to con convince the grand not to indictment him. he had to make the grand jury believe that in his mind that unarmed michael brown, even though he had already been shot four times was somehow going to kill darren wilson from a distance of 35 feet away. and to save his own life, he had to shoot michael brown in the head. there is no real reason to believe officer wilson's story that michael brown was charging at him, but even in you do believe it, there is certainly no reason to believe that
officer wilson could not have easily avoided being tackled by someone who's been hit by four of his bullets. you don't have to be an nfl runningback to avoid that tackle. but was michael brown actually charging officer wilson? that is one of the most important questions in this case. >> one described his movement towards officer wilson as a full charge. >> that was the district attorney last night mentioning the only witness who he thought worthy of quoting in his nationally televised announcement of no indictment. no other witness was singled out by the prosecutor. that witness, identified in the grand jury and police reports as witness number ten is the only witness whose description of michael brown's mooumts agrees with darren wilson's description. to corroborate darren wilson's
movements, darren wilson might not be a free man tonight. that's how important that witness was. that's why the prosecutors cited him individually. for the prosecutor to lean that heavily on that one witness, witness number ten, must be the most consistent and credible of the eyewitnesses, right? witness number ten must not be one of those witnesses who changed his story or got things wrong. >> eyewitness accounts must always be challenged and compared against the physical evidence. many witnesses to the shooting of michael brown made statements inconsistent with other statements they made and also conflicting with the physical evidence. >> so witness number ten must have survived that challenge by the investigators and the district attorney. as an example of how this grand jury investigation actually worked, let's examine the credibility of this one crucial eyewitness, the only one who agrees with darren wilson's full
description of michael brown's movements after the confrontation at the police car. witness number ten's police interview just two days after the killing of michael brown, when his memory was fresh begins with the detective saying, would you just retell your account of what took place? retell, of course, means he already told his story at least once to the police without being recorded. so there is no way of knowing just how consistent his police statement, which is at least his second statement, is with whatever his unrecorded first statement was. witness number ten was working in the neighborhood, and he begins his story to the police with, i seen the two young guys walking down the street on the same sidewalk that i was on. six weeks later, witness number ten testified to the grand jury
michael brown stopped. he did turn. he did some sort of body gesture. i'm not sure what it was, but i know it was a body gesture. i could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. he ran towards the officer full charge. so there's witness number ten saying the magic words. he never put his hands up and he ran towards the officer full charge. in the grand jury, when the prosecutor asked witness number ten to describe whoo he called a body gesture, he said, i can't say for sure what sort of body gesture, i cannot fully recall.
all i know is that it was not in a surrendering motion of i'm surrendering, putting my hands up or anything. i'm not sure, if it was like a shoulder shrug or him pulling his pants up. i'm not sure. so there's the district attorney's favorite witness, the only one he quoted last night saying i cannot fully recall, i'm not sure, i'm not sure. within the body of an answer in which the only thing he's absolutely sure of is that michael brown did not do a surrender motion. in a real courtroom, when a witness begins his answer with i can't say for sure and then in the body of his answer, he says i cannot recall fully, and then says i am not sure twice within that same answer, that witness observation does not survive cross-examination. but there was no cross-examination in the grand jury room. this is about as challenging as the prosecutor got with witness
number ten. question, let me ask you this. how is your vision? witness number ten, pretty good. question, do you wear glasses or contacts? witness number ten, no. he was not then asked when was your last eye examination. have you ever in your life had your eyes examined. we have no idea how old this witness is. is witness number ten in his 60s or 70s in and watching this without needing eyeglasses? is he in his 20s in we have no idea. but we do know how good his eyes have to be to offer the grand jury the precise observations he did. in his police interview two days after the killing of michael brown, he was asked how far away he was from the action that he was watching, and he said, quote, to guess, maybe 100 yards, i would say. maybeless.
so the district attorney's favorite witness, the most effective witness for the defense of officer wilson told the police that he saw everything clearly without eyeglasses from 100 yards away. stop. think about that. there's a football field with the referee on one gold line and the action he is judging 100 yards away at the other goal line. who among you would trust the judgment of that have referee standing on one goal line 100 yards away from the action at the other goal line? anyone who's ever seen a football game, as we can assume the district attorney of st. louis county has would not put much faith in the observations of a referee who was 100 yards away from the play. and witness number ten is the most important referee of what happened in the killing of michael brown, as far as the district attorney is concerned.
he made that clear last night. quoting only witness number ten. how far away was witness number ten is the most important credibility point we need to know in evaluating his testimony. six weeks after saying he was 100 yards away watching the action, he was asked in the grand jury room under oath how far away he was when he was -- from what he was watching and he said, i would give it 50 to 75 yards. he cut the distance in half to 50 yards just like that. he did that under oath before a grand jury who had no idea that the last time he was asked that question two days after the shooting, he said double that. he said 100 yards. and no prosecutor in that grand jury room put his police
interview transcript in front of him and asked him if he remembered saying 100 yards instead of 50 yards. no prosecutor in that room let the grand jury know witness number ten was changing his story you should oath about how far from the action he was. how honest is witness number ten? is there anything we know about his background that could help us with assessing his integrity? no. we know nothing about him back ground. he maybe living a completely admirable and honorable life. he may have done his very best to tell the truth each time he told his story. even though it changed. or he may be eager to do police a big favor for all sorts of possible reasons. we don't b know. we don't know anything about him. did he smoke dope when he was a teenager like michael brown? we don't know. does he have a criminal record? we don't know.
we've never seen him. he has never come forward paublically. we know nothing about his background, but the attorney general thought that he was the only witness worth quoting because he was obviously the prosecutor's most important witness. in justifying bringing no charges against officer wilson. in a case with such intense public interest as this one, we would like to be able to judge the credibility of all the witnesses. we would all like to be able to do that. we would like to no as much as we can about the them. but what we know about witness number ten is that the prosecutors willfully did absolutely nothing to help the grand jurors judge the reliability of the only witness who completely agreed with darren wilson's description of what michael brown's movements were, a description he offered
from his vantage point of 100 yards away. or was it 50? lisa bloom and jim cavanaugh are here. they're going to react to some of this evidence next. stay with us. it's not about how many miles you can get out of the c-max hybrid. it's about how much life you can fit into it. ♪ the ford c-max hybrid. with an epa-estimated range of 540 miles on a tank of gas. and all the room you need to enjoy the trip. go stretch out. go further. goodnight. goodnight. for those kept awake by pain... the night is anything but good. introducing new aleve pm. the first to combine a safe sleep aid.
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>> joined now by jim cavanaugh and lisa bloom. jim and lisa, i went through that testimony of witness number ten just to give the audience the feel for what's inside this gland jury material. this is just one witness. and that one witness who the prosecutor, the attorney last night quoted was very important to the view of the case. and lisa bloom, i would love to get your reaction to that, but also to any of the other elements you've been digging through this mountain of material, the grand jury report, the police interviews. we've all been working on this and we're all finding different
things. >> i've been reading it since about 2:30 a.m. and i've gotten through a fair amount of it. listen, to pick up on what you're talking about, lawrence, which is so important. the words full charge, what the heck does that mean. i know what it mean on my iphone. what does it mean in reference to mike brown. if i'm the cross-examination, and it's the favorite thing i do as a lawyer is cross examining, really getting in there and digging down to what's going on. does it mean he took one step? does it mean he was running in how much ground did he cover? witness number ten, please demonstrate for the grand jury exactly what you mean. that's how you really get to the core of these stories. because one person can use the term full charge and another person can talk about mike brown staggering after having hit by four bullets and you can find out that ultimately, they're actually talking about the same thing. they're talking about a wounded, bleeding man 35 feet or more. and some people think it's a lot more, distance from darren
wilson who's shooting at him. and it all adds up to not being in reasonable fear. but from these transcripts, we only get just this very surface level. we don't get the cross-examination that you would expect. and frankly that would happen in any other case. >> jim, we heard the attorney general last night complaining about witnesses who couldn't keep their stories straight from one telling to another. what he specified is how to specify the witness's credibility. but the one witness he did cite changed the single most important thing in most eyewitness testimony, which is simple question, how far away were you. and he cut it by half. he went from 100 yards to as little as 50 yards. it's a very dramatic change in an eyewitness's positioning of himself in relation to these events. and for the prosecutor seemingly to be leaning on him, witness
number ten, as the credibility booster to darren wilson's defense is pretty surprising after what he said last night about inconsistent stories. >> well, it makes me think a witness 100 yards away through the maze of the apartment building, did he see brown run full speed away from the cruiser. it's unclear what he saw that far away. and he doesn't have more credibility than all the other eyewitnesses. and certainly the eyewitnesses you have interviewed who were feet away. ms. crenshaw was on the balcony overlooking the shooting. she was very clear on what she saw. tiffany mitchell, who was very close by. these were witnesses within feet on the second story balcony. so i don't understand why that one had such credibility.
it does seem to be the person who agrees with what officer wilson says. and, you know, there's a lot of issues here. i think that the justice department has to really break this thing down and recreate the crime at a clean location, you know, away from st. louis. you know, out in the academy site, lawrence, like we would do in a shooting. get the fbi, the civil rights division and the armed forces institute of pathology and put the stopwatch on this. 25 feet, how fast do you run with an arm tucked in your waistband. put that against the acoustics of the audio of the shots being fired. it doesn't really jive even with some of the stuff that officer wilson talks about shooting a string of shots and another string of shots and then the last string of shots. but when you listen to the audio, it's really two strings. five or six and then four more. i think six and then four more. or one and three at the end.
so there's some inconsistencies. that doesn't mean he's lying about that, but everybody's perception, everybody's place, it comes down for the department of justice to say can you shoot an unarmed man 30, 35, 40 feet away. is that excessive force. that's the first question the department of justice has to answer to themselves. and the second question is whether or not they can use prosecutorial discretion to bring a case. don't answer the second question first. first ask, is this a case of excessive force? and that's a question they' got to really root out and answer for the country. >> lisa bloom, the grand jury was shown the interview i did with tiffany mitchell on this program. they were shown all of that. and it was consistent with the testimony that she then gave to the grand jury that we've been able to read today. she testified in the grand jury room to being 20 feet away from
what she was watching on that street. and what that raises is the different kinds of values that different eyewitnesses have. and that is normally a judgment that prosecutors make. they don't bring everyone in the courtroom who claims to have seen everything. because when they go through it they think well, you know, 100 yards away. or this person's view was blocked by a car. or this person turned away and went -- you know, there's a bunch of reasons why you decide, i think we'll bring in these three or four eyewitnesses out of the six or eight or more that we actually harvested in our search. and it seems to me that these differences are a perfect illustration of why you don't throw every possible witness in front of a grand jury. >> right. one of the concepts that the prosecutor put out there yesterday that was so blatantly incorrect is if you have inconsistent eyewitnesses, you just can't file charges.
if that were true, no one would be in case. in every case, of course, there are conflicting eyewitnesses or conflicting stories about what happened. in this case, let's be clear, most of the eyewitness testimony supports the concept that darren wilson was not justified in shooting mike brown and there may be a coup of witnesses on the other side, and that's to be expected. and the way our system works is, is there just probable cause to charge him? put on a couple of witnesses who are credible, like tipny mitchell, like the construction workers, the one who capture himself on video immediately after the shooting and says oh, my gosh, the guy's hands were up and he demonstrates that. and he talked about the distance he was, and i would think a construction worker is probably pretty good at estimating distances. you put a couple of people on, you charge darren wilson and then you put on the full blown
trial where, some witnesses are going to fall apart at trial and some are going to hold up. instead, the prosecutor subverted the whole thing and gave the impression, if you don't have a perfect case, if you don't have an airtight case, gee, you can't go to trial at all. and that's a rule that only applies to darren wilson. it does not apply to anybody else in his jurisdiction. >> jim cavanaugh, quickly before we go, i want you to address one thing. let's assume for a moment that witness number ten's observations are completely accurate, and darren wilson's description of the physical action is completely accurate and that assume for the moment that mike brown, quote, charging officer wilson. let's just assume that. having the experience of being on the street yourself as a law enforcement officer, what were the options, the tactical options he had other than shootling him in the head and killing h im. >> well, certainly outmaneuvering him. as you say, he was wounded. the officer did back up some. the problem is he started shooting him at the distance of 30 or 35 feet.
and, you know, in police training, even 21 feet, you know, is the distance when you have an edged weapon that you can kill someone. if someone is within that 21-foot distance from an officer and they have a weapon, you know, then you could be justified to use deadly force. but you're unarmed and further than that, you know, if he had charged the officer, the officer never fired until he was basically on top of him. maybe you can make an argument for justified use of force. but at those distances unarmed, it's really hard to say that that that can be justified use of force. >> jim cavanaugh and lisa bloom, thank you very much for joining us to night. >> thank you. coming up next, tremaine lee will join us live from ferguson. >> the second night prof tests in ferguson, missouri, continues. tremaine lee joins me now from
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>> right now it's a cold and chilly night here in ferguson. and kind of, even though it's frozen out here right now, it kind of reminds me of that calm before the storm as that we saw before the summer. people wonder if we will have a repeat as we did last night. the governor mobilized additional national guard troops. they always blocked off parts of the street which yesterday hundreds of people were out there. the buildings were on fire. i left the ferguson police department. there were about 200 people out there doing a dance with law enforcement. they will swell into the roadway, then the officers will push them back. this time backed up by national guard troops. but again, after last night, such a fiery night, folks are now just kind of picking up the pieces. organizers are now kind offaling back and trying to recalibrate their plans while there still are organic and spontaneous protests happening. throughout the day, they've been shutting down roadways. again, at the ferguson police department, they're there right now. i had to go the long way around to the police department.
and while the national guard and err officers had it blocks off, there are groups of young people gathered on the far side. last night, the group was decidedly young. we're talking about teenagers. some in their early 20s. it's cold out. folks are out. but it's still pretty quiet relatively speaking. >> we have fantastic pic churs up live of ferguson. it does look peaceful and there's crowds about the size of what you described as what we're seeing. and there seems to be no, absolutely no violent activity there at all right now. >> not at all. it's quiet. a lot of those folks going through civil disobedience training and hoping to take this into the long weekend, i talked to some protesters earlier who said they were crying last night because of all this hard work trying to be peaceful and show that they can be, you know, militant but also nonviolent with this civil disobedience.
so last night was a blow for them because again, it was kind of spontaneous. a lot of the disinfected youth coming from either side of the avenue pouring into the streets. things turned really bad and really ugly really quickly. folks today are picking up the pieces. but they're going to move forward with this movement. >> tremaine lee, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we'll come back to you if anything develops there. thanks. up next, law schools have a new grand jury to study on the subject of just how strange can grand juries be. mr. clean's grandmother was stronger than people twice her size. and that strength inspired his liquid muscle cleaner. it lifts tough dirt so you do less scrubbing. and its nozzle stops by itself... ...so less is wasted sure made grandma proud. mr. clean liquid muscle. right now, you can get a single line with 3 gigs for $65 a month. 3 gigs ... is that a lot? that's about ... 100 app downloads, 45 hours of streaming music, and 6 hours of video playing. (singing) and five golden rings!
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>> a first-year law student b kou done a better job of cross examining a person accused of killing an unarmed person than the prosecutor did. >> we are joined now by a law professor at st. louis university and marsha clark, former prosecutor. marsha clark, we are on the subject of the strangeness of this grand jury. a lot of us cowl go on and on. as a former prosecutor yourself, you know this better than i do. certainly what standard practices are and what the fall vals of standard practices are. one thing i want to mention is the prosecutor last night, attorney general last night was talking about witnesses who in the process he believes were discredited.
and some of whom he believes were revealed at some point in their processes as investigators to not be in a position to see things. in a normal grand jury, isn't that exactly who you don't bring into the grand jury room? that you come across people like that, you sort them out before you get to the grand jury? leave those out, bring in the people who you're pretty confident really are eyewitnesses. >> yes. you do. as you said earlier, lawrence, you really do kind of have to make a judgment call about who is credible, who is reliable, who can really be said to know what they're talking about, and who -- you want the rest of them not to be called. but i'm going to say one thing in defense. it's a very unusual situation. and they're kind of in a lose-lose position. i think they were trying to do a noble thing. i think they were trying to say, you know, we gave the grand jury everything there was, we gave them all of the witness, we didn't try to shape the case in favor of the cop. so we're giving you the best
benefit of the doubt by having every single possible witness, every single possible piece of ed, and put that in front of the grand jury and let them make the call. if they had win knowed it down, if they had narrowed it down to the witnesses they thought were most credible, they would have faced criticism for shaping the case and trying to help the officer. i can kind of see where it's lose-lose for them. but ordinarily, if you're asking under ordinary circumstance, you would not put all of these people in front of a jury jury at all. if one of the witnesses sounded like he didn't know what he was talking about, you would tell the grand jury, forget about him. he doesn't know what he's talking about. you have to be very straight for a gran jury. it's a lot of responsibility there because there is no defense attorney to balance you out. personally, i don't like grand juries because i have to wear two hats. i wind up objecting to witnesses' testimony saying hearsay. i'm making the defense objections. it's crazy making.
i would much rather have a preliminary and let a defense attorney do his job and a judge do his job. it's the responsibility for the prosecutors to make sure you do it as fairly as you possibly can. >> and justin, one of the grand jurors told a witness, i think part of the responsibility is to find the truth in all of this. and apparently there was no prosecutor there to inform the grand jury that their role at that stage is to not to determine to find the actual truth of the case, but simply to find whether there is probable cause for a -- for the view of some kind of criminal charge. >> i think that's the key. when you're talking about the standard of probable cause, it's a much lower standard than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard that we see in an actual criminal trial, let alone a standard of actually finding the truth.
and i think in this process, we saw a number of situation where is, i don't want to cast aspersions on the prosecutor or the prosecutor's office, but there were instances where mistakes were made. i think many of those mistakes had a terrible effect on the outcome. for example in missouri we have a state statute around excessive force that allows police officers to use deadly force when they see a fleeing felon. and this has been ruled unconstitutional in 1985 supreme court case, tennessee versus garner. there's a jury instruction that instructs the grand jury to disregard that aspect of the state statute, but if you look at the transcript, the prosecutors actually gave the wrong statute, the missouri statute to the grand jury members. they printed it out and then they had to go out and try to change things afterwards. but, of course, the damage was
already done. and the jurors were confused. and so you look at these mistakes as terrible as these, you wonder, was there a fair process? all we would want is fairness in the process. and as attorneys and members of the bar, i think we as i recall a responsibility to look out for the process because we know process often shapes outcomes. >> marcia clark, to give the grand jurors the incorrect law to read in terms of what controls their decisions there, a law that has been invalid on its face in missouri since 1985 is a rather stunning development. and there are a lot of people who are going to have a lot of trouble calling that an innocent mistake. >> they may. they will. for sure they will in a case like this. it may be an innocent mistake, but innocent or guilty, it is a mistack and it causes confusion about what is a prosecutor
police procedure. was lethal force. you give the jurors conflicting laws and misleads about what is the appropriate standard, and that's what the law is, a standard. then it's going to creation confusion. jury instructions are no easy thing, and jurors go into that jury room and they try to figure out. there's all this legalese, there's all these instructions. you will do this and you won't do that. it's already confusing. then when you give two different versions of the law, you create that much more confusion. so it is a difficult situation regardless of whether you want to cast aspersions on the prosecutors for doing the wrong thing. i wouldn't think if they would do something that ridiculous on purpose, though. >> well, i've read the actual trial jury instructions for police using deadly force cases in missouri, and it specifically excludes what the statute says. because the trial jury
instructions know that what the statue, the language that remains in the statute is dead law and is not applicable so they know to exclude it in any kind of trial if these things get to a trial. justin and marcia, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back with another look at exactly what's happening in ferguson. how could switchgrass in argentina, change engineering in dubai, aluminum production in south africa, and the aerospace industry in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 70% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. goodnight. goodnight.
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city, protesters marched through manhattan. at one point they blocked the entrance to the new york tunnel and blocked traffic in new york times square. at least one person was arrested. >> shut it down! >> today was also a second day of protests in miami. police report that protesters were peaceful. we will go live to ferguson next.
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>> you're looking at live images outside the ferguson police department right now. things are still peaceful there. joining me now, pastor timothy woods of the first free will baptist church in ferguson. pastor, i wanted to show you a video of something that happened last night. you may have seen this already. this shows michael brown's stepfather getting very angry in his reaction last night. let's take a look at this video. >> [ bleep ]! [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> for the audience, i want to explain. it was not easy to see. he was the man in the white hat and the green shirt. and so look, my question about this, pastor woods is, with the -- with a bunch of you out there who know the family and other advisers, why didn't someone say to michael brown's mother and stepfather that they should probably be at home processing this news prooifrtly rather than be hit with that news, have michael brown's mother burst uncontrollably into tears. and that's point at which her husband then reacts this way.
and in a way that today he very much regrets. when i saw that, i just wondered where were the people who should have been protecting them from that kind of exposure last night. >> well, the fact is when you're dealing with a volatile and emotional situation, generally and usually you kind of let people tell you the best way that they can handle things. and that was the best thing. they wanted to be around people. now, that's not me speaking for them, that's just me interpreting their decision. >> and pastor, what is the difference in ferguson tonight from last night? what are you observing there? >> a lot more troops. but also there is more of a calm. it seems like many of the protesters are more in control of protesting. not rioters or looters and those
people you have seen in all the reports. there are more protesters being seen now. >> and what are you sensing. i'm sure the community is going through some kind of emotional journey here, and that feelings can change slightly or in various ways from day to day. >> well, lawrence, i'm going to be honest with you there, there's been a lot of shock. not just with the grand jury's decision, but some of the ways that they arrived at their decision. we're not understanding or we're not computing or i'm not sure how we are processing the facts of how the grand jury arrived at their decisions. we were under the understanding that they were simply to look at the evidence and decide whether the evidence was enough for mr.
wilson to go to trial. but for them to have basically went all the way to an acquittal without a trial, it has sparked some conflicting emotions within all of us who have been con negligented with this. >> well, they share those feelings with most legal observers who have been watching this case and watching what unfolded yesterday. legal interpreters are mostly flummoxed by what this grand jury did. pastor timothy woods, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> no problem, thank you. coming up what president obama said today about the grand jury in ferguson. this is live imagery you're seeing here.
we're not going to commercial break. that's a police car in ferguson, missouri, appears to be a police car from this distance that was just overturned by protesters and it has just rolled back. it's hard to see from this camera angle, this distance a real law enforcement presence there. and some people are backing away and now someone just threw a fire bomb at the car. we will see if that gets ignition, if that's going to -- if that's going to turn into a full flaming vehicle, as we saw one last night. there seems to be in police near that police car. it's hard to imagine how that could happen. i'm rejoined now by jim cavanaugh, a law enforcement expert. it's a strange sight to see an unprotected police vehicle like that in a situation like this just out in the open and then subject to that attack. >> you know, my first concern, lawrence, is where is the officer or officers?
i hope they're not in the vehicle. you know, maybe they're in that nearby building. that would be the first concern. you know, they may not be getting out with the crowd around them like that. i hope it's empty. i agree with you. i don't see any officers present. we saw that last night when the crowd was sort of getting to a little crescendo and trying to rock a car over. we saw the county police move in. they had the shotguns with the orange stalks, shooting a beanbag round. they moved in and they kind of damped down that, you know, sort of pent-up mob atmosphere. they got it quieted it down quick because they were present. but here we're seeing it looks like a fire inside the cruiser now. and no officers nearby. so hopefully no injuries. >> it was interesting to see how it developed as we were going to a commercial. a crowd started to tip it over, they got it almost over. they rolled back. and then they backed away from
it, jim. it looked like okay, that little prank, almost, is over. they backed away. most, almost all of them. and then you saw one or two who certainly -- one, at least, who had a molotov cocktail or something like that to throw at the vehicle ready to go. and that changed the entire nature of it. this is not something that, you know, looks like a rowdy post sports team victory or loss somewhere. but the -- >> that's right. that's right. >> it looks like the flame is not getting into an explosive conflagration, but it may well overtake that vehicle completely. as we watch it now. we did see some people, as the camera widened, running at high speed away from that scene through a parking lot in the
back there. no indication in a situation like that whether they are innocent protesters who want to get as far as possible, or whether they are perpetrators of what happened there. >> that's right. and you -- >> go ahead, jim. >> that's right, exactly right, lawrence. they could be people who want to get away and don't want to be near the violence. a cruiser just pulled up. you can see it just at the bomb of the screen there. the fires become -- attract people like moths to a flame in a crowd situation. so people hang around. you know, many are just spectators but they want to see what's going on. and the flames bring people about. and, you know, the best thing to do is get a presence there, damp it down, get the fire out quickly and disperse the crowd there. >> and in the reflected light, it does look now like some officers are present. one getting very close to the vehicle, which i'm not sure is wise under these conditions. protesters now it looks like
mingling in there, getting closer. i guess there's a -- yeah, definitely he has a fire extinguisher. he knows what he's doing. he's getting that fire out pretty quickly. no interference from the crowd that we can see, jim. >> yeah, much more like spectators. craig, are you near this burning police car? >> we should probably position a crew down there, guys. >> craig melvin, can you hear us? >> now i do, yes. >> it's lawrence o'donnell here. are you near that burning police car? >> i am not. i am not near that burning police car. we were positioned in front of the ferguson police department and then all of a sudden, we saw i would say three-quarters of the folks who asemiabled in front of the police department move north. and all of the national guardmen and all of the police
department, they remained in place. right now, i can tell you that two fire trucks are just pulling out, which is right next here to the establishment. we also saw a caravan of roughly eight to 10 police officer cruisers speed down the street as well. in pursuit. lawrence, it appeared as if, again, it appeared as if it was coordinated. by that i mean, they were, again, this crowd of demonstrators, they had been sort of going back and forth with police. but it was actually relatively peaceful, and then, you know, in the span of maybe two or three minutes, someone decided, or a group of them decided to move the party down the street. so that's -- they took off.